Outlook Productivity Tip: Save your Time creating standard text blocks in outlook

Do you find yourself typing the same block of text over and over again in emails? There is a great feature in outlook called Quick Parts that allows you to insert boilerplate text boxes into your emails and it is so easy to setup and will save you a heap of time.

I use a meeting scheduling service and so I can’t remember how many times I have typed the text

“if you use the link you can see my calendar and propose some times that might work for a “

Now with Quick Parts I type book and then press enter and voila my text block is inserted and I can continue on.


Here is how

To create Quick Parts:

  1. Type the text you want to use in a Quick Part into a new email message.
  2. Select the text block and click the Quick Parts icon on the Insert ribbon tab.
  3. Select Save selection to the Quick Part Gallery, at the bottom of the flyout.
  4. Complete the New Building Block dialogue and click Ok to save it.


To Use a Quick Part

You can insert Quick Parts manually, by selecting the Quick Part from the Insert tab, Quick Part gallery or semi-automatically, by typing enough of the Quick Part name to be unique and pressing F3.

If you have Show AutoComplete Suggestions enabled in the Outlook editor options, when a matching Quick Part is found, a screen tip will tell you to press Enter to insert it. In the example shown in the screenshot, the Quick Part name is “New QP”.

Note: You will need to type at least the first 4 characters of the Quick Part name.

To enable Show AutoComplete Suggestions from either Outlook’s main windows or a new message form, go to File, Options, Editor Options and select Advanced. Note: if you open the Options dialogue from a new message form, close the form, do not use it for a message. Settings may not ‘stick’ if you send a message using the opened message form.



Holacracy Thoughts from the Trenches: Stop Strangling you Roles

Holacracy Roles Purposes and Accountabilities

Early in the practice, we get tied up in our accountabilities they can sometimes be seen as the limit of our work. It is important to remember that it is the purpose that is what drives our Roles it is the purpose that provides our authority in the Role and allows us to take any action or project we deem necessary to attain that purpose. Our accountabilities are obligations of the Role from other Roles in the Circle. Accountabilities are what is expected of our Role from other Roles not the limits of the work to be performed. As we settle into the Role it is important to remember we energise the Role best and the Circle and Organisation by striving to fulfil the purpose of the role not just performing the accountabilities.

As we mature in our energising the Role, we also need to remember that the purpose when we initially take on a role should also is not the ultimate boundary of the Role. It is a placeholder put in place by the circle for what it believes is need now from the Role. As you energise the Role, you need to re-evaluate regularly its purpose, its fit in the Organisation. Where you see the purpose limiting the roles ability or opportunities to enhance, your Circles purpose you should propose changes. Allowing the Role to grow just like we as humans constantly re-evaluate our reason for being here and adapting to our world.


Strategizing and 2015

As the fervour and anticipation of 2015 approaches, the optimistic traditionalists among us are dutifully setting goals and strategies for the year ahead. An activity the realists abhor for a fear of failure and a desire for rebellion.

Regardless of whether the pressing nature of the impending New Year has significant meaning for you or not, planning is an essential ingredient for the success of any organisation. But before you go crazy making lists, let’s take a moment to celebrate your victories and acknowledge your shortcomings from this past year. This is extremely important in understanding the strengths and constraints of your business and let’s face it, you as its leader. Don’t worry, you don’t have to walk alone and as you approach those forks in the road, the decision of which way to turn will soon become clear.

Holacracy is a social technology used for organisations providing a distributed authority system built around an organic structure and grounded within the organisation’s purpose. Consider Holacracy as the anti-thesis of traditional management hierarchies to create a management-free environment focused on getting things done. Holacracy provides a different take on your annual strategy and planning sessions by providing a guiding light through the overwhelming decision making process. I challenge you to make a difference to your strategy process by adopt a dynamic approach to manoeuvring your way through the minefield of running a business. Once you’ve strategized using this different method all will be revealed about where to invest your time, money and resources.

Here are some examples of the strategic outcomes born from this process, they provide a clear direction when making decisions throughout the year:

Focus on:

  • Stabilising the environment over hunting out new opportunities
  • Satisfying core stakeholders over entrepreneurial zeal
  • Organisational coherence over inspired individuals


Internal meetings held within an organisation are not about winning friends and influencing people, they are about getting things done. I’ve attended meetings and found myself in the middle of a power struggle or relationship maelstrom and left questioning the outcome and purpose.


Internal meetings can be frustrating, confusing and a waste of everyone’s time. Or they can be satisfying, clear and productive if a structured process is applied where the main focus is on getting work done.

Here’s how:

  • A ruthless meeting process defining exactly how the meeting will be structured by using a strict set of rules everyone is aware of.
  • Allocate a facilitator to ensure the rules are adhered to and the meeting stays focused.
  • Document clear outcomes and instantly distribute.
  • Have a specific purpose for every meeting.

Operations (tactical) and Governance meetings are two types of meeting processes. Tactical Meetings deal with the operational aspects and focus on specific actions and projects. As outlined in the insert, this type of meeting can have the most immediate effect on an organisation when run correctly. A strictly process-driven tactical meeting creates clarity on what work needs to be done while allowing the team to synchronise quickly and effectively. Governance Meetings are directed at power, authority and structure.

Holacracy is a real-world-tested social technology for organisations where Tactical and Governance meetings are just part of the process. It drives agile and purposeful organisations by radically changing the structure, altering how decisions are made and redistributing power.


Tactical Meeting Process

Check-in Round

Goal: Notice what’s got your attention, call it out, let it go.

Sacred space: no cross-talk. Get present, here and now; grounds the meeting.

Checklist Review

Goal: Bring transparency to recurring actions.

Facilitator reads checklist of recurring actions by role; participants respond “check” or “no check” to each for the preceding period (e.g. the prior week).

Metrics Review

Goal: Build a picture of current reality.

Each role assigned a metric reports on it briefly, highlighting the latest data.

Project Updates

Goal: Track updates to key projects of the circle.

The Facilitator reads each project on the circle’s project board and asks: “Any updates?”

The project’s owner either responds “no updates” or shares what has changed since the last meeting. Questions allowed, but no discussion.

Agenda Building

Goal: Build an agenda with placeholder headlines.

Build agenda of tensions to process; one or two words per item, no discussion.

Triage Issues

Goal: Get through all agenda items in the allotted time.

To Resolve Each Agenda Item:

  1. Facilitator asks: “What do you need?”
  2. Agenda item owner engages others as-needed
  3. Capture any next-actions or projects requested & accepted
  4. Facilitator asks: “Did you get what you need?”

Closing Round

Goal: Harvest learning from the meeting.

Each person can share a closing reflection about the meeting; no discussion.


Lack of Clarity = Meeting Overload

Do any of these symptoms show up in your organization?

  • Lots of meetings with lots of discussion to reach consensus on things
  • E-mails fly around with lots of people cc’d, often for unclear reasons
  • People check-in with everyone before making decisions, and expect others will too
  • People have lots of ideas about what “we” should do… but “we” doesn’t do itThese are all symptoms of lack of clarity, and many organizations suffer from them.  When we’re not clear who needs to be involved in a decision or who has the authority to make it, we often default to getting everyone involved for lack of a better option.  That at least allows a decision to get made (sometimes), and no one’s toes get stepped on (usually), though it sure has a price.  It also points to a much deeper issue – a lack of clarity of what roles (not people) are needed given the organization’s purpose, what work each of those roles (not people) needs to do, and what authority each of those roles (not people) needs to do it.  Until we have differentiated the organizational roles from the people doing them, we will have a fusion of the people and the organization which limits both.Once we have this clarity – or better yet, a trusted process for continually generating this clarity over time – we can then find relief from the symptoms above.  We no longer need meetings for everything, as we know exactly which other roles to involve in various activities and decisions.  And when we do engage in a discussion we can do so without creating an expectation of consensus, because everyone is crystal clear on which role owns the decision.  We no longer need to cc everyone on e-mails or check-in with everyone before making a decision, as we now know which roles should be involved in what and to what extent we should involve them…  and just as important, to what extent we should just use our best judgment and make a decision autocratically.  Organizational clarity frees us to be a good leader when we’re filling a role and need to balance input with expediency, and a good follower when another role owns a decision and shuts down discussion to make a judgment call.
  • So, how can you move towards this kind of organizational clarity?  Here are a few of my techniques:
  • The medicine for this fusion is organizational clarity – a defined structure for how the organization will pursue its purpose.  This structure has nothing to do with the people, and it is best defined without reference to them – people come in later, to energize the Roles the organization needs to pursue its purpose.  To define a Role without reference to the people, give the Role a descriptive name, and one or more related activities which the person filling the Role will energize for the organization.  This Role-holder must have authority to execute upon and make decisions around those activities, and may also have defined limits of authority or constraints which ensure other Roles can do their work effectively as well.  With Roles defined around what’s needed for the purpose, we can then look at our available talent and assign the best-fit to energize each Role – and most of us will fill multiple roles quite naturally.  (Done well, this is quite different from a conventional job description exercise – more on that in a future post.)
  • When Seeking Consensus:  When a discussion seems to be seeking consensus among the people about what decision to make, I ask “Is it clear what Role holds the authority to make this decision?”
  • When Involving Everyone:  When lots of people are pulled into a meeting (or e-mail chain), I ask “What Roles need to be involved and why?”
  • When There’s Fusion:  When a given human is habitually referenced by name as someone to check with or work with, especially if it’s a founder, I ask “What Role is it that needs to be consulted, and what Role is asking?”
  • These questions begin to highlight the lack of clarity and habitual fusion that necessarily exists in the early-stages of any effort – and often still exists quite a bit later, despite fancy job descriptions and org charts that pretend otherwise.  And it is in answering these questions that something emerges beyond just the group of people – only then is a true organization born, as its own differentiated entity.

28 Days Later – A Retrospect

What was that he said? Oh yes, something like …. *thumbs through training notes*

December 5th was the last day of our introduction to Holacracy practitioner trading and what an amazing 5 days it was.

Mixed in with some new and innovative ways to conduct business meetings was an underlying philosophy that threatens to revolutionise the way business is conducted forever.

I know that’s a bold claim but hear me out – there is substance behind these words…

Most businesses are dysfunctional and most of those know this to be true. They have in-house politics, their employees build allegiances that will benefit their particular cause and there are unresolved issues that are too overwhelming to deal with that they get put in the “too hard basket”.

It all sounds a bit like “Game of Thrones” really!

But there is a better way, and it doesn’t require anything like engagement and buy-in but, ironically (and you’ll encounter this word a lot) it manifest all this and much more.

Imaging a meeting where someone can bring an issue, be legitimately heard and have their issue resolved without compromise. And that there are clear outcomes for that issue at the end of the meeting.

This process is so effective that one company reported that after one such meeting, albeit an extended one, they managed to resolve a difficult issue that had been plaguing their business for over 7 years! Quite an achievement.

Wow! I’m starting to sound like a bit of a fanboy but I guess it’s true, too.

I see some huge benefits in the ways businesses can be more effective in what they do and isn’t that what we want? To do what we do as best we can?

But Holacracy isn’t just about meeting processes, there is much more to it than that and I encourage you to find some time in your busy schedule to block out an hour, get a fresh coffee and browse through the Holacracy website.

And if you have any questions you know where to find me…


Welcome to Stephan @ Telus Partners new Blog

Welcome to my new blog this blog will be dedicated to my thoughts, ramblings and insights with relations to my new Venture Telus Partners. Telus Partners will be a leading edge Business Training and Consulting firm based in Australia.

Telus Partners will provide concrete process’s and practices to business seeking to stop worrying about how to run the business so they can get on with job o f getting things done.

This will be done through the use of some amazing tools and technologies available that help organisations to evolve and achieve their real purpose. It is not about highly intellectual or theoretic ideas but concrete practices and process’s that can free the organisation to evolve and develop as it needs.

The main benefits are a more productive and efficient organisation that can quickly respond and grow within its environment, a defined clarity providing a better and happy workplace and less friction in the organisation increasing productivity and profits.